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Transdermal Patch Delivery Technologies Will Create New Blockbuster Drugs

Lux Research

Advanced technologies have sparked 81 clinical trials, as drug delivery via transdermal patches will lead to $6 billion in new annual sales within the decade

BOSTON, MA – March 25, 2014 – Driven by convergence with other platform-enhancing technologies and shifting demographics, transdermal delivery of drugs (through the skin) is poised for a renaissance with sales of patch-delivered drugs and vaccines jumping by up to $6 billion within the next 10 years, according to Lux Research.

The transdermal patch has long promised convenient, low-cost, controlled drug delivery. Yet after three decades it remains relegated to niche markets, with only 16 drugs on market. But now 81 active clinical trials – ranging from applications in vaccines, drug delivery and biofeedback loops – are ongoing.

“A unique strength of transdermal patch delivery is the ability to deliver constant regulated levels of API (active pharmaceutical ingredient) for the treatment of chronic conditions,” said Kevin Pang, Lux Research Director and the lead author of the report titled, “Skin in the Game: The Coming Rise of Transdermals.”

“In particular, neurological diseases and conditions like Parkinson’s disease, depression, and pain are quite amenable to this approach, avoiding the typical peak and trough phenomena observed with conventional pills,” he added.

Lux Research analysts studied new potential technologies and opportunities for the new generation of transdermal drug delivery systems. Among their findings:

  • Demographics, new technologies are key enablers. Growing numbers of older populations require greater convenience, control and safety of drugs as they manage multiple chronic conditions. Newer transdermal patches are much more powerful and functional to the patient.

  • Parkinson’s patch will drive sales. By 2020, sales of UCB’s recently approved rotigotine patch for Parkinson’s disease should approach $500 million in sales in the U.S. and EU, driven by ease of use and a superior drug-dosing profile for first line therapy.

  • Migraine drug will be a blockbuster. Nupathe’s Zyetia’s sumatriptan patch for chronic migraines will reach annual sales in the EU and U.S. over $1 billion by 2020. It represents a big improvement over current technologies, incorporating iontophoresis to more effectively and uniformly drive actives into the bloodstream.

The report, titled “Skin in the Game: The Coming Rise of Transdermals,” is part of the Lux Research Food and Nutrition Intelligence service.